Veteran Beijing loyalist politician Jasper Tsang Yok-sing found himself caught between a rock and a hard place yesterday in a forum on the election of the Legco president.
While pan-democrats accused Tsang of abusing his powers as president by halting a filibuster by lawmakers during his last term in May, Tsang's colleagues from the pro-government camp accused him of not being strict enough in handling lawmakers who, they said, had misbehaved during meetings.
Tsang, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, is seeking another term as president but is being challenged by Alan Leong Kah-kit of the Civic Party.
Leong said that if he was elected, he would safeguard the rights of minority groups in Legco to speak, given that the legislature was not directly elected.
Tsang criticised Leong for not being impartial and said he would strictly follow the council's rules of procedure.
"I exercised only the power given to me as the president by the rules of procedure," said Tsang, referring to his decision to halt the marathon debate in May mounted by opposition People Power lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man, who wanted to block government amendments to by-election rules.
At the forum, Wong also threatened that fellow legislators from his party would step up their "confrontation" in the next session.
"We may throw bananas at you [Tsang] next time," said Wong, who threw a banana-shaped prop at then chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen during a session in 2008.
Wong also asked Tsang if he was a member of the Chinese Communist Party. Tsang sidestepped the question.
Speaking to reporters after the forum, Tsang said: "It is meaningless to ask me this question. This is not a genuine question by itself."
Twenty legislators-to-be raised questions during the two-hour forum, held in the Legislative Council's chamber. The president's election will be held after legislators have been sworn in during the first meeting of the new legislative term starting tomorrow.
Tsang is expected to win with backing from the pro-government camp.